The Ohio State University at Newark

Common Book

Common Book at Ohio State Newark

Traditionally, the Common Book is a singular volume dealing with relevant social topics; however, due to the resounding issues in our current world, this year will focus on critical, diverse readings and thought-provoking documentaries. The focus of this year’s ‘Common Experience’ is to bring awareness to and facilitate much-needed conversations regarding anti-racism, social justice, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the impact COVID-19 has had on our world and our lives.

Invitation from the Dean

The Common Book Program seeks to:

  • Invite students to immerse in a common intellectual experience during their first year of campus.
  • Promote discussion of contemporary and historical social issues.
  • Help students understand diverse perspectives and the need to value inclusive communities.
  • Help promote research and service-learning projects through faculty-student collaborations.
  • Promote the productive value of engaging with public policy issues and the need to create a just society.
  • Serve as a common ground from which students may extend their education beyond the classroom to reflect on our world.

FAQ Common Questions

  • Why is the book important to first year students at Ohio State Newark?
    • The book is designed to engage students in discussions regarding contemporary issues facing local and global communities. The book is part of our campus’s commitment to having students think critically and learn about diversity, equity and inclusion topics.
  • What will I be expected to do after reading this book?
    • Several professors will use the book/readings in the class. Students are expected to participate in discussions and, potentially, develop projects based on the book. More than a simple assignment or task set out in the classroom, the readings should be used to reflect upon our world and to promote critical citizenship among students, faculty, and staff.
  • Will there be events on campus related to the book?
    • The Common Book Committee hosts programs throughout the year through speakers, documentaries and discussion sessions. The Office of Student Life will also co/sponsor numerous events. Due to the current health context, all events may be held virtually to promote social distancing and to make it accessible for the campus community.
  • Do I have to pay for this book?
    • The book is provided free of charge to Newark campus students. During the 2020-2021 (autumn semester), all readings will be accessible via EXP courses and Common Readings (as facilitated by various instructors). For this academic year, the resources list is available at below link.

2020-21 Resource List

Past books, events and projects

What the eyes don’t see: The story of crisis, resistance, and hope in an American city.
by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation
Thirty-six major contemporary writers examine life in a deeply divided America—including Anthony Doerr, Ann Patchett, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Hector Tobar, Joyce Carol Oates, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Russo, Eula Bliss, Karen Russell, and many more.

Half of a Yellow Sun
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A haunting story of love and war from the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists.

Spring 2019
The Hand That Feeds (Documentary Screening)
A documentary film written and directed by Robin Blotnick and Rachel Lears.
It chronicles the struggles of undocumented immigrant workers as they attempt to achieve fair wages and better working conditions in New York’s Upper East Side.